Where did you get the idea?
I was on a long-haul flight returning from a scuba diving trip, and suddenly realised just how uncomfortable the blow-up pillows are. So I decided to develop my own product.
Where did you get the funding?
I originally put £12,000 of my own savings and bank overdraft into the business. I then went on Dragons’ Den to get a further £175,000 investment to market and advertise the business. After I was refused, I didn’t get any additional investment, but the business became self-funding.
Did the Dragons teach you anything?
No. I decided to ignore them entirely and steam right ahead. I believed enough in what I was doing to take no notice of them. Duncan Bannatyne said I’d be lucky if I even sold ten – I’ve since proved him completely wrong.
How did you manage to promote the product?
I went to a travel event and I made sales of £4,000. I also managed to get the email address of a journalist who then featured the product in The Sunday Times. This led to a further £6,000 in sales. With this money I was then able to advertise in some national papers and magazines – which has easily paid for itself.
What’s your next move?
I want to create a national brand. We are soon to start selling in the US as there is a big market with the Greyhound bus. I’m also looking at New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, as these are countries where a lot of the population use aeroplanes.